After releasing a cartoon on Instagram attacking the Australian Government’s push for mandatory vaccination, cartoonist Michael Leunig (pictured above) was later informed by the Age daily newspaper that he would no longer be working for them in his capacity as a Political Cartoonist. The cartoon was rejected for publication before Leunig released the material on social media, causing a backlash from pro-mandate accounts, while prompting the newspaper’s editor to inform Leunig that he was disconnected from the audience. RT has the story.
Speaking to The Australian on Monday, Leunig said that while the editorial team has censored about a dozen of his works this year, the last straw appeared to be an anti-mandate cartoon which was a play on the iconic ‘tank man’ photo. Leunig’s cartoon shows a man staring down a tank, with its main gun being replaced by a syringe.
The original photo depicts a lone Chinese protester standing before a line of tanks during the 1989 pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square.
While his cartoon was rejected by The Age, Leunig published the drawing on Instagram, triggering backlash from the proponents of vaccine mandates.
Shortly after the controversy erupted, Leunig, who worked at the newspaper for over 20 years, was told that his services as a Political Cartoonist were no longer needed. Gay Alcorn, Editor of The Daily Age, reportedly told the artist that he was “out of touch” with readers before notifying him of his dismissal. While Alcorn praised Leunig as “brilliant” in a comment to The Australian, he confirmed that his works would no longer appear on the editorial page. The newspaper still plans to commission lifestyle cartoons from Leunig, however.
Leunig accused the newspaper of “wokeism and humorlessness“, defending the cartoon as an accurate reflection of the times.
Worth reading in full.